Lying on the western coast, Goa is India’s smallest state and unlike any other, known for its white-sand beaches, stellar nightlife, eclectic seafood, world-heritage listed architecture. Spread across just 3,702 km, Goa lies in the Konkan region. It is a far cry from the hippie haven or a beach getaway, and one of the only few destinations that is open 24×7. The laid-backness (susegad) of Goa attracts as many international tourists as it does Indians, or even more so. With a coastline stretching for over 100 kilometres, Goa has endless beaches. While Baga and Calangute are more popular among the Indian family crowd, Anjuna and Arambol draw a lot of foreign tourists. The beaches in South Goa are relatively lesser explored, but some of them like Agonda and Palolem are more beautiful.
Agra is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and 24th most populous city in India. With its long and rich history, it is no wonder that Agra forms part of the popular Golden Triangle Circuit for tourists along with Delhi and Jaipur. It is also a part of the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc including Varanasi and Lucknow. History fanatics and architecture buffs are sure to have a ball here with the sheer expanse of the Mughal art and culture on display. Agra is mostly visited on a one-day trip from New Delhi or other nearby cities in Uttar Pradesh but is totally worth it. Be prepared to be astounded, amazed, inspired and thrilled.
Manali is one of the most popular hill stations in the country. With jaw-dropping views, lush green forests, sprawling meadows carpeted with flowers, gushing blue streams, a perpetual fairy-tale like mist lingering in the air, and a persistent fragrance of pines – Manali has been blessed with extraordinary scenic beauty. From museums to temples, from quaint little hippie villages to bustling upscale streets, river adventures to trekking trails, Manali has every reason to be the tourist magnet it is, all year round. Manali is also home to a tiny slice of history, in the form of the Naggar castle. Located among the breathtaking forests in Naggar town, the Naggar Castle is a stunning historical edifice. Once used as the residence of Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu, the castle is a fine blend of traditional Himalayan and European architecture.
Jaipur is a vibrant amalgamation of the old and the new. Also called the Pink City, the capital of the royal state of Rajasthan, was ruled by the Rajputs for many centuries and developed as a planned city in the 17th century AD. Along with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur forms the Golden Triangle and hails as one of the most famous tourist circuits of the country. Majestic buildings, tales of heroic battles, resplendent forts and palaces, and multi-faceted characters, Jaipur has long been one of the shiniest cultural jewels in the history of the Indian subcontinent.
Udaipur, also known as the City of Lakes, is the crown jewel of the state of Rajasthan. It is surrounded by the beautiful Aravalli Hills in all directions, making this city as lovely as it is. This ‘Venice of the East’ has an abundance of natural beauty, mesmerising temples and breathtaking architecture which makes it a must-visit destination in India. A boat ride through the serene waters of Lake Pichola will be enough to prove to you why Udaipur is the pride of Rajasthan. Udaipur has natural offerings with a grandeur multiplied by human effort, to make it one of the most enchanting and memorable tourist destinations
World’s oldest living city, Varanasi – also known as Kashi (City of Life) and Benaras, is the spiritual capital of India. It is one of Hinduism’s seven holy cities. The old city of Varanasi lies along the western banks of the Ganges, spread across a labyrinth of narrow galis. Be prepared to walk on foot and encounter some holy cows! Temples at almost every turn engulf Varanasi but the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the most visited and the oldest of the lot.
7. Leh Ladakh
Ladakh is an adventure playground for climbing, jeeps tours, rafting and high-altitude trekking. Note that Leh Ladakh is inaccessible by road outside the summer months. The road passes close altogether from around October to May, and the only way to reach left is by air. Bounded by two of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram, it lies athwart two other, the Ladakh range and the Zanskar range. Ladakh is mystical in all the spheres it covers, from nature, geography, sceneries to the modest cultures that it fosters.
Jaisalmer is a major tourist spot located in the northwestern state of Rajasthan in India. It is known as the ‘golden city’ due to its bounteous golden dunes and castles clad in golden honey sandstone. Jaisalmer is adorned with lakes, ornate Jain temples and havelis. Climb on to the camel saddle and make your way through this desert or camp under the night sky in this golden land. The Jaisalmer Fort stands as a citadel and is surrounded by narrow alleys inhabited by people residing there for generations. With shops selling colourful handicrafts and havelis that will make you travel back in time, Jaisalmer is an amalgam of exotic Indian desert culture, heritage and adventure.
Rishikesh is a small town in the Dehradun district, located close to Haridwar in Uttarakhand. Rishikesh (also called as Hrishikesh) is known for its adventure activities, ancient temples, popular cafes and as the “Yoga Capital of the World”. Gateway to Garhwal Himalayas, Rishikesh is also a pilgrimage town and one of the holiest places for Hindus. Rishikesh became known worldwide in the 1960s after The Beatles visited the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi here. Today, the place is popular as The Beatles Ashram which beckons tourists globally. The tranquil town has long been a spiritual centre but is equally popular for the whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, mountain biking and camping along the fast-flowing Holy Ganges. It also serves as the gateway to many Himalayan treks.
Jodhpur is one of the most enchanting cities of Rajasthan, with its mighty Mehrangarh fort overlooking the city. The city is called the Blue City as it looks completely blue in colour from an aerial view because of its blue walls and blue houses. Nearby Jaswant Tada and Umaid Bhawan Palace are also among the top attractions in Jodhpur. However, the magic lies in the old city itself with hundreds of shops, guesthouses, eating joints and vendors make it a chirpy bustling city, especially near the landmark clock tower and Sardar Market. Jodhpur attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world. Jodhpur is conveniently located in the centre of Rajasthan making it easier for people visiting Jodhpur to explore other destinations of the state.